BARCELONA look certain to wrest Eden Hazard from Chelsea boss Antonio Conte’s grip as they prepare to go on a spending spree with the £200million the Spanish giants pocketed from PSG for Neymar.
The eye-watering sums involved in the transfer of the Brazilian superstar to the French club have left Barca with a massive war chest to add to their star-studded squad.
They aim to put arch La Liga rivals Real Madrid in the shade with their windfall. And pinching Chelsea’s star midfielder from under Real’s noses is a good start for them.
Hazard has long been linked with a potential transfer to Real Madrid, despite the 26-year-old appearing to be committed to the cause at Stamford Bridge.
For his part, Conte has said time and again he wants Hazard playing for Chelsea, but admitted this week that he is powerless to stop the move if the Stamford Bridge club decided the price is right.
Conte told a news conference at Cobham: “Eden Hazard is a really top player, but I repeat I am the coach and I can give my opinion. But the final decision is always the club’s.
“I expect Eden to play for Chelsea. It is not the right moment to lose a player or players.”
Hazard, who won the PFA player of the year award in 2015, was one of the Premier League’s top performers last season as he helped the west London side win the top-flight title for the second time in three years.
The Belgium international is currently recovering from a broken ankle suffered while on duty with his national team back at the start of the summer.
Meanwhile, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has called on his old club to do a double transfer deal.
The former midfielder believes Antonio Conte should be allowed to sign a midfielder in the mould of Nemanja Matic to add steel to the middle of the park.
Chelsea have already signed Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco but Lampard says that's not enough.
He also thinks Chelsea need to invest in wing-back cover due to the extra demands that Champions League football will put on the side.
Lampard told BT Sport: "I think they need another midfield player. They are waiting on Tiemoue Bakayoko to be fit.
“The wing-backs, if that's what they've got, they're going to play so many games this year and they need more."